Various Sur la Mer Samp-le-Mer

Though it was founded back in 1997, 5 Rue Christine has risen in prominence over the past few years from simply being the experimental sister label of Kill Rock Stars to standing as something of a gateway to what’s happening in America’s enthusiastic and increasingly freaky underground, thanks to the breakthrough success of two of the bands on their roster, Deerhoof and Xiu Xiu. Picking up where the label’s first successful retrospective, If the Twentieth Century Didn’t Exist, It Would Be Necessary to Invent It (a co-release with Kill Rock Stars), left off, Sur la Mer Samp-le-Mer compiles a kaleidoscope of fresh sounds from a cavalcade of artists, most of them exclusive to this compilation. Among the mix there are freaked-out percussion-heavy folk jams (No-Neck Blues Band, the Punks, Wooden Wand and the Vanishing Voice), contemplative noise-backed vocal tracks (Metalux, the Robot Ate Me, Slim Moon and What Army), cheesy synth-led throw downs (the Advantage, Hella, Mae Shi) and flat-out subversive weirdness (Xiu Xiu, Excepter, Need New Body). There isn’t really a bum track in sight on Sur la Mer, making this sampler a choice addition to any freaky collection, though not necessarily a crucial one. (5RC)